Meaning and Symbolism of Red Wedding Dresses

Meaning behind wearing a red wedding dress

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Most women dream of having the perfect wedding and one of the most crucial aspects of that perfect wedding is walking down the aisle in a gorgeous wedding gown. However, not every woman who dreams of the ideal wedding pictures herself wearing the traditional white western wedding dress. In fact, some brides prefer a bolder take on the bridal gown by wearing a red dress and if you’re considering the same, that’s perfectly fine!

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the meaning behind wearing a red wedding dress and whether it’s the right choice for you. Let’s go ahead and take a look.

What Does a Red Dress Mean?

While red is an unconventional color for wedding dresses, more modern brides are choosing to wear it because of the symbolism it holds:

  • Good Luck – In some cultures, red symbolizes good luck and their traditional wedding dress is usually red. It’s believed that wearing red will bring good fortune for the bride and groom and blessings for their marriage.
  • Love and passion – Red is strongly associated with love and has been for decades. Therefore, some look at a red wedding dress as an expression of the bride’s love for her husband and the passion in their relationship.
  • Boldness – The color red usually symbolizes boldness and is a great choice for brides who want to make a statement.
  • Danger – Although the color red has many positive connotations, it also represents danger which is why some believe that it’s not an ideal color for a wedding dress. In some cultures, it’s believed that wearing a red wedding dress symbolizes future quarrels and unhappiness in the marriage. However, many modern brides tend to ignore the superstition and enjoy the color for its positive symbolism instead.

Reasons for Wearing a Red Wedding Dress

Brides who wear red on their wedding day may have different reasons for exchanging the white gown for a feistier and bolder scarlet color. Here are some of the most common reasons why modern brides opt for red wedding dresses:

Red looks good on any woman regardless of body shape, size and color.  

Every bride wants to look their best and be the most beautiful on their wedding day. However, the color white does not always suit everyone. While a good fashion designer can masterfully create a white gown specifically for your body type and preferences, not everyone can afford them.

Depending on your color, size, and hair color, white might not suit you best. On the other hand, red almost always looks good on anyone, especially if accentuated with gold or black pieces.

This is especially true for blondes since red brings out the shine of blonde hair. Makeup, accessories, and hairdo are essential factors that complete your ensemble and can make you look your best on your wedding day.

Red wedding dresses are a part of your culture. 

While white wedding gowns are only a tradition for Western culture, wearing a red dress on the wedding day in many Asian countries is part of their heritage.

For the Chinese

Chinese cheongsam dress

Chinese brides traditionally wear the Cheongsam or the Qipao on their wedding day. The cheongsam is a red dress adorned with elaborate designs made with silver and gold accents. Chinese women choose not to wear white because it’s considered the color of mourning, along with black.

In some parts of China, brides wear a two-piece dress called a Long Feng Gua, with a phoenix and dragon design to symbolize the union of husband and wife. The long feng gua is typically matched with a top of the same design worn by the groom on their wedding day. Some brides also add a red veil to their outfits and red or pink shoes to complete their look.

China’s love for the color red is deeply tied to their cultural belief that red is a sign of love, loyalty, fertility, success, and honor. For the Chinese, wearing a red gown on the wedding day fends off evil spirits and brings good luck to the marriage.

For the Indians

Indian bride

Although red is the traditional color for Indian brides today, this wasn’t always the case.  In the past, only hermits and monks wore red in India, but during the 16th century Mughal Era Indian women began to wear this specific color for their wedding.

The reason behind this change can be attributed to astrology, which is closely tied to Hinduism. Red is believed to be the symbol of Mars, the planet that rules over marriage. The color is also linked with the Hindu goddess of new beginnings and the feminine power named Durga.

The color red is symbolic.

Red beautiful bridal gown

Even if you’re not Chinese or Indian, it doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to accept or believe the symbolic associations of the color red. Red can mean courage, good fortune and undying love regardless of your cultural background.

You don’t want a typical wedding.

Every wedding is different and something that takes months or years to plan. If you want an interesting and unique wedding, then you could always try going for a red dress instead of white. However, remember to inform your guests that you’ll be wearing a red gown so that no one else will be wearing the same color on the day.

Red is your favorite color.

Red ball gown wedding dress

Red ball gown by Likedpage. See it here.

Some brides prefer to wear red on their wedding day simply because it’s their favorite color and so can you. This is your special day and you should have it exactly the way you want it, especially if it’s within your budget. Red wedding dresses are actually much more affordable than the traditional white dresses so if it’s what you really want, go for it.

Popular Red Wedding Dress Types

If you’ve decided that you’re going ahead with a red wedding gown, it’s time to take a look at some gorgeous designs. Here are some of the most popular red wedding dress styles available on the market.

Red Mermaid Gown

Gorgeous Red Mermaid Gown

Gorgeous red mermaid gown by Style By Julita. See it here.

A mermaid-style wedding gown is one of the most common dresses picked by brides for their special day. It’s a body-fitting dress that glamorously flares out from the thigh or the knee. If you’ve got an hourglass or inverted triangle figure, this is an excellent choice for you.

Indian Lehenga

Red lehenga wedding attire

Beautiful red lehenga by Netri Enterprise. See it here.

The lehenga is a two-piece traditional outfit with a blouse and an ankle length, pleated skirt worn by Indian brides. In fact, it’s considered the favorite Indian wedding dress and many brides choose to wear it on their special day. While the lehenga comes in many different colors, red is the most popular for wedding gowns.

The lehenga is a very heavy outfit since it’s heavily embroidered and embellished with crystals. It’s also accompanied by a dupatta and a lot of jewelry to complete the bridal ensemble.

Indian brides typically wear the lehenga during their wedding, and Nick Jonas’ bride Priyanka Chopra proved that the lehenga is still in style! Chopra wore a glittering red lehenga during the couple’s second wedding ceremony, which honored Priyanka’s Hindu heritage. The custom-made outfit painstakingly took over 3,000 hours to complete since the design was so detailed that it even included the names of Nick and Priya’s parents sewn on her golden waistband.

Simple Ombre

Bride in red simple ombre dress

Ombre wedding dress by Chrissy Wai Ching. See it here.

If you want to spice things up your wedding while still keeping a somewhat traditional western look, you can go for a simple white and red ombre wedding dress just like this one.

Ombre dresses start out in one color (usually light) and gradually blend into another (a darker color) towards the bottom of the dress. It’s a popular look among brides who strive to look anything but traditional on their wedding day.

If you want to spice things up for your wedding while still keeping a somewhat traditional western look, you can go for a simple white and red ombre wedding dress just like Gwen Stefani’s. Even if her marriage to Gavin Rossdale didn’t work out, Gwen did set a trend of ombre dresses soon after, and no one’s stopping you from stealing this gorgeous look.

Go All Out with A Customized Piece

If red is truly your favorite color, you can have a customized wedding dress to suit your preferences. This is an excellent way for you to get creative and have the dress of your dreams.

If red is truly your favorite color, you can also try to achieve the jaw-dropping wedding gown used by celebrity tattoo artist and model Kat Von D. Her wedding unabashedly showed her love for the color red as she walked down the aisle in a custom-designed blood-red gown. Lavish cannot even begin to describe the piece, which was completed with a long veil and cape.

While you don’t have to go as far as the makeup mogul in designing a red wedding gown, you can mix and match designs and small details to make your red wedding gown truly yours.

Should You Wear a Red Gown to Your Wedding?

If you’re having trouble trying to decide on a color for your wedding gown, take time and do a lot of research to see what suits you best. We recommend doing this as one of the first things when you start planning your wedding since it’s not a good idea to leave it until the last minute.

The choice of wearing a red wedding gown is entirely up to you. However, you can always get an opinion from your bridesmaids, your wedding planner, your family and your husband to be. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding and you should wear what looks best and makes you feel like a queen on your special day.

Wrapping Up

Wearing a red wedding gown can symbolize many things and is perfect if you’re going for a bold look and want to make a statement. Although some brides feel anxious about wearing such a bold color, there’s no need to worry about it.

If you and your husband-to-be love the idea of wowing your guests in red on the big day, you should, of course, go for it. If you want to know how to wear black, check out our article on black wedding dresses.